Griffin Coal miners end six-month strike, take big pay cut

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has ended a six-month dispute with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) over pay for miners at Griffin Coal’s mine in Collie, Western Australia.

Twenty-nine of 30 maintenance workers from the AMWU agreed to accept a new enterprise agreement with Griffin Coal, taking a blow to their pay packets in exchange for family-friendly rosters and other entitlements, according to an AAP report.

It represents the end of the longest period of industrial action ever taken within the WA coal mining industry.

Wages returned to the FWC’s 2010 Black Coal Mining Industry award rates when the mine started to hit financial trouble in mid-2016 — production staff and maintenance staff saw pay cuts of over 35 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.

The beleaguered miner even had to be propped up by its Indian holding company Lanco Infratech, which itself went into receivership last May, initiating insolvency proceedings through the Reserve Bank of India.

AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney criticised the Fair Work Commission’s handling of the situation, but was “prepared to cop” the new pay given the other benefits and roster changes.

“Despite the pressures of foreign banks, a massive 46 per cent pay cut, million dollar international consultants and the broken Fair Work Commission, the workers and the broader Collie community have stood together and won, the result a testament to their resolve,” he said.

The AMWU members involved in the strike are expected to return to work tomorrow.